The purpose, judging by the subtitle, was to motivate us to use more precise language. And it did offer a bunch of words that define something that's better than good. Unfortunately, most people read the article as promising a list of synonyms for good, which it didn't do, and there were a lot of snarkly comments. But I digress...
Writing Tips: How to get word choice right
Making lists of words can be helpful. We get even more from the exercise, though, when we go beyond the Thesaurus.
I was consulting* with a Canadian company a few years ago and the team leader was aware of how often they used certain words — and not just jargon that might be appropriate for some audiences or regulatory terms they couldn't delete. Regular words, too.
We took 30 minutes out of a team meeting to brainstorm replacement words. We asked everyone to bring the words they or the company overused. Then we brainstormed alternatives. We had a lively discussion about audience, definitions and connotations and came up with a decent list that everyone could -- and did -- use in writing from content marketing to interoffice memos to ad copy. It was fun and effective.
A random lists of words we could use is nice, but a more directed, thoughtful list of words is better. Bonus points if you listen closely enough to your audience to know how they talk and factor that into your decision making.
The inscription from my first Thesaurus.
- Writing Tip: How to pick the right words
- Content: What words do you over use?
- Better word choice = better content